SARASOTA, Fla. (WFLA) – At just 18-years-old, Dylan Jenkins was a young man destined for great things.
The athlete was chasing his dreams, playing football and running track at the college level. After being a stand-out star at Riverview High School, Jenkins was recruited to play for Madonna University in Detroit.
“I was looking for guys who want to compete in the classroom, compete on the field that loves football. And Dylan, went after get him up here,” Madonna University head football coach, Herb Haygood said.
Back home for the holidays, Jenkins was with his friends in Ackerman Park in Sarasota when someone drove by and began shooting. He was shot in the back and did not survive.
Investigators say he was not the intended target, simply an innocent bystander. Jenkins’ college coach faced a difficult task in the aftermath of this tragedy.
“It’s been very difficult for me today, cleaning out his dorm. My wife washed his clothes,” said Coach Haygood.
The coach called Dylan a natural, someone who inspired others to always be better by being a people person.
The two also shared a fun rivalry since Dylan’s coach attended Sarasota High School, and his star player was a Riverview graduate.
“A lot of people know I went to Sarasota High, and he’d wear that Rams shirt. I just loved it,” the coach said with a smile.
Dylan’s high school football coach fought back tears when talking about his young life being taken far too soon.
“It’s tough because it never should have happened,” said Riverview Head Coach Joshua Smithers.
The investigation is still ongoing, and detectives are continuing to interview witnesses. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office at 941-861-4900.